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Fruit Fly: Search and Destroy

Sad, stung tomatoes

There's nothing as good as eating a home grown tomato picked straight off the vine. Until you realise you're eating a bit more than tomato.

As fruit fly can be so insidious - adults emerging directly from the soil around plants and hiding out under leaves, maggots chomping away on fruit, and pupae waiting patiently in the ground - usually several methods of control need to be used to be effective.

This is especially so with large, shared areas like the Garden. In the past few years our fruit fly numbers have skyrocketed - we barely got a crop out of our tomatoes last summer! Hopefully with a combined effort from members we can break the cycle of repopulation and destruction.

Below are the ways we will control fruit fly in the garden, have a read through to get involved.

Trap 'em

- Useful for killing flies close to traps, and monitoring fly numbers

- Several traps are required for large areas, ideally each plot should have one

- Ready made traps are available but you can make your own

Bin Fallen and Rotten Fruit

- Rotten fruit indicates the presence of fruit fly maggots, which will be transferred to the soil once the fruit falls. On reaching the soil, the maggot pupate and develop into adult flies

- The maggots can be killed by picking ALL spoiled fruit and placing in a sealed bag for at least a week

- This prevents the emergence of adult flies this season, and the overwintering of pupae for next season

Net your Crop

- Netting of whole plants or bagging of developing fruit prevents females laying eggs in your crop

- Make sure you use fine netting or bags designed for insect exclusion

Remove old and unwanted plants

- Old, unproductive plants in your plot provide hiding place for adult flies and rotting material for their maggot to eat

- Put plants on the compost heap before they start rotting in your plot

Watch the worms

- Rotting food scraps in our worm farms and compost bins can attract female flies to lay eggs, provide a meal for maggots and a place for pupae to develop

- When adding to the worm farm give only a small amount of scraps at a time to prevent them rotting before the worms can eat them

- Be sure to add lots of carbon-rich brown organic matter with your food scraps into the compost to prevent anaerobic breakdown of scraps

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